Discover Better Designs, Faster.

A no compromise simulation approach for electronics cooling

Smaller, more powerful, higher efficiency, greater reliability - these goals for semiconductor devices require dramatic improvements in system thermal design.
STAR-CCM+ helps the thermal engineer design systems that work efficiently and reliably, enabling better designs, faster.

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Generating Electronics Cooling Improvements

Find out how simulation can mitigate risks to product life and component efficiency for different electronics cooling strategies. 


STAR-CCM+ brings detailed geometry, detailed physics and design optimization to explore performance of design variants and proving thermal reliability to achieve optimal cooling.

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The most common cooling approach for electronics is fan-driven forced convection flow. STAR-CCM+ lets you choose the best way to simulate the fan in your system – using the fan curve, with the steady-state multi-reference frame approach, or with a fully-detailed transient technique based on the rotating fan blades. This flexibility means that the needs and goals of the simulation, not the limitations of the simulation tool, determine how you choose to model the fan-driven flow.

Most thermal engineers prefer natural convection cooling for their systems, mainly because of lower implementation cost and higher reliability. For systems where natural convection might be an option, an accurate simulation is needed to properly assess the cooling performance. STAR-CCM+ contains the full set of physics to accurately model natural convection as well as the automation tools needed to rapidly explore all the design options and improve the cooling performance.

Some military, aerospace, and telecommunications applications require that electronics boards are completely sealed from the exterior environment, but this presents a challenge for the thermal design. An approach called conduction cooling is common in assemblies such as ATR chassis, and good thermal design of an ATR must balance thermal performance with weight. STAR-CCM+ provides accurate simulation of the system while enabling efficient exploration of the all design options.

Some electronics systems exceed the power density that allows an air-cooled thermal approach. Liquid cooling might then be considered in spite of additional challenges in reliability, failure protection, and system weight. So how can such a system be designed? A simulation tool is needed that can handle the complex geometry, complex physics, and wide range of design options inherent in liquid cooled systems - requirements that match the strengths of STAR-CCM+.

In Depth

Discover better electronics cooling designs faster

Full detail. Complete physics. Explore all the design possibilities.

The end goal of any design is a reliable, well-performing product, yet achieving these characteristics in the design of electronics systems is a challenging endeavor. This is true whether you are designing a data center, an engine control unit, a luminaire, or an avionics chassis. A range of factors contribute to the challenge including the constant need for ever-increasing capabilities (no device is ever powerful enough), compressed design schedules (no design can be completed fast enough), and ever-decreasing sizes (no device is ever small enough) - all while avoiding a host of failure modes. One of the most common causes of mechanical failure is overheating, which can lead to performance degradation, failure of individual components, temperature cycling failure of solder joints, and reduced system lifetime. Fortunately there are a number of tools at the design engineer’s disposal to help mitigate these challenges.

Analytical calculations are particularly well-suited for broad system performance modeling and early design envelope evaluation. Physical testing is the standard for final design validation & qualification. But between these two ends of the design cycle, simulation is typically the most effective tool, allowing the engineer to efficiently explore the performance of a particular design, virtually test design variants, predict system robustness & reliability.

Better designs, faster

STAR-CCM+ is a CFD tool that will reduce uncertainty and approximation in your design process, capable of modeling any geometry, no matter how complex. Its multi-disciplinary physics modelling capabilities can simulate any cooling scenario, no matter how unconventional. STAR-CCM+ can simulate entire systems at multiple levels of fidelity. Ecooling, the STAR-CCM+ add-on for automated electronics cooling simulation workflows, and HEEDS, our Multidisciplinary Deign Exploration package, ensure that you have a no-compromise, easy-to-use, fully detailed, advanced physics simulation approach for optimizing your cooling designs.

Case Studies

See how our customers have been using our products to improve electronics cooling designs.